Market Report & Infographic – Denim Decline?


Info graphic gig trendillustratedCheck out our Denim Jeans report and Infographic, as Trend Illustrated looks a little deeper at the current state of the denim business.

Boom and Bust

The denim resurgence at the end of the nineties helped dampen the luxury sportswear boom at that time. It seems that now Sportswear is now returning the favor.

Denim sales peaked around about 2006-7. In the United States that was approximately US$ 51.6 Billion, or equivalent to about 2.7 billion meters of denim fabric, with the EU, the U.S. and China accounting for approximately 70% of the total global market.   Unsurprisingly denim ownership since then has been in continual decline. In a report by Cotton Inc Lifestyle Monitor the average pairs of Jeans (Men) owned in 2006 was 8.4 which then reduced to 6 by 2012, with a similar reduction in women’s ownership. Also the percentage of Men and Women who claimed to love wearing denim dropped during the same time period from 76% to 73%.

Is Activewear the new Denim?

According to a report in the U.S. Today Magazine in the U.S. denim business is currently worth US$ 16 Billion which is down 6% in 2013. One of the main reason it seems, aside for the saturated denim market, is the increasing acceptability of active wear for use outside of the gym. Sportswear is now much more acceptable than it was ten years ago for regular daily usage outdoors and even withing some office environments. This is more than just a trend but a whole shift in consumer attitudes. Before the denim boom it would have been difficult to imagine that every brand would have its own denim line or segment, now it seems that every brand will have its own active or sportswear line, with many brands having already taken up the new challenge. Denim will remain a key part of many businesses but will be replaced in importance by more sport and active influenced product. This is the same for both Men and Women. With only so much room on the sales floor and the continued decline in denim sales retailers are giving over more of their floor space to sportswear.

“Today’s consumers are looking for a jean that does more. They want premium denims that perform well and look and feel great, and they want an added bonus of knowing what they wear is environmentally sustainable

Cara Nicholas VP Product Development, Cone Denim

However if your a denim fan and don’t fancy wearing your gym kit to work just yet then all is not lost. It would seem that although the overall denim market is on the wane the premium sector is now seeing growth, particularly in women’s. According to a recent survey by research group NPD, as reported in the UK based online magazine, Business of Fashion a renewed consumer appetite has put premium denim on the rebound, “the fastest-growing segment of the denim market is premium ($75+) with an estimated market value of $1.4 billion for the year ended February 2013, up 17.3 percent from the year before; just two years ago, the premium denim market had not yet reached the $1 billion mark. What’s more, the total units of premium jeans sold grew 16.4 percent to 13.5 million pairs for the same period. By comparison, the overall denim market grew only 7.0 percent in value, while unit sales remained flat”

The sheer amount of competition in the market and the [volume of] choice for the consumer will make people think more about the values they are looking for, be it quality, trend, local brands, ethics, etc etc,

John Park of Natural Selection

With the denim market saturated brands are having to think much more carefully about what they offer and today’s consumers  are looking for a jean that does much more, they are looking for quality, distinction and longevity as well as at the values and integrity of the brand itself.